I am ­­­___, and I approved this message.

 

How many times did you hear that during the recent campaign season and think, ‘You approved that ad? What were you thinking? Somebody ought to do something. There ought to be a law.’

 

The escalation of distortions has reached such a height (or is it depth?) that you get a nosebleed and nauseous just watching TV or opening the mail. Instead of calling upon the better angels of our nature, as Lincoln put it in trying to heal a divided nation, some sacrifice civility on the altar of personal or party triumph.

 

We are all losers for it.

 

Civility is out of fashion.

 

Nearly a century and a half after the “Civil” War, we are ever more nuanced in our divisiveness and incivility. Red states and blue states. Republicans and Democrats. Conservatives and liberals. Rich and poor. White and non-white. Christians and non-Christians. Evangelical and non-evangelical Christians. Original immigrants and recent immigrants. This could go on and on.

 

Does anyone remember just being an American? ONE nation under God, indivisible!

 

Now we seem as much at war with one another over what makes a good American as we are with foreign enemies who wish our downfall altogether.

 

A few humble suggestions:

 

·        Self-regulate. No new laws or more judges interpreting them. We need people to define their positions while treating opponents as the loyal, rather than the disloyal, opposition.

 

·        Draw back from the line that has been drawn too close to the personal. You can find sin and indiscretion in every person. Exposing it does not raise the level of public virtue.

 

·        Be willing to lose. Win-at-all-cost approaches lead to doing things unworthy of the values we should expect from one another.

 

·        Remember that half-truths are whole lies. Intentionally to impugn a record or reputation for personal gain damages one’s own character and diminishes us all.

 

·        Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. What if before every ad were published or broadcast, a candidate had to say to self: Does this pass The Golden Rule Test? We would see a lot less of the worst we saw in this election.

 

          If by now you are frustrated trying to figure out whom I voted for, because we now assume that all speech is political, you only prove my point.

 

          I am George Mason, and I approved this column.

 


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